The 10 Best Houseplants for Any Kind of Light

modern living room with side chair, throw pillows, and a house plant
Heidi's Bridge

While we've spilled quite a bit of ink on the benefits of houseplants here at MyDomaine, something we haven't touched on quite as often is how to ensure your plants live a long life under your care.

To prevent the unintentional overwatering of yet another fiddle-leaf fig tree, we asked Greg Salmeri, co-founder of Rolling Greens, all about proper houseplant care.

"Definitely consider your home's lighting (and where you plan to put your plant) before deciding which type of plant to invest in," he advises. "North and west corners tend to get more indirect light, while south and east corners usually receive direct light."

Meet the Expert

Greg Salmeri is co-founder of Rolling Greens, a home and garden company based in Culver City, California.

From how to select the right plant given your home's lighting to how to tell if your plant is getting enough water, we're covering all the basics below so you can walk into your local nursery with confidence.

Ahead, Salmeri weighs in on the 10 best houseplants for any conditions from low to bright light and shares his foolproof care tips and watering hacks.

01 of 10

Madagascar Dragon Tree

Dragon tree and various plants in a global living room

Tracey Hairston

  • Botanical Name: Dracaena marginata
  • Sun Exposure: Partial shade to full sun
  • Soil Type: Loamy, well-drained soil
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 7.0

If drama is what you're after but you don't have much in the way of natural light, a dragon tree will fit the bill with its height, wild leaves, and tropical vibe. It'll grow a little more slowly in lower light situations and will require less water, but just keep an eye on it and mist often.

Salmeri has a universal watering strategy: "When you go to water your plant, soak it thoroughly, and then wait until the soil is dry to the touch to water again. Feel the soil with your finger (the best moisture meter around) at least three times a week to familiarize yourself with wet versus dry soil. Sticking your finger about two inches below the soil surface suffices."

Dragon tree in a fabric pouch on a wood stool
36Vine Madagascar Dragon Tree $29
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02 of 10

Snake Plant

Snake plant in a modern dining room corner

Dwell Aware

  • Botanical Name: Sansevieria trifasciata
  • Sun Exposure: Low to moderate, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining cactus or succulent mix
  • Soil pH: 4.5 to 7.0

There's a reason you see snake plants all over the internet—they're adaptable to low light, totally drought tolerant, and are just about indestructible. So if you haven't quite developed your green thumb yet, the snake plant will make a great plant baby to practice on.

Less is more when it comes to watering this plant—when in doubt, leave it alone. "Another technique is to lift the container to see if it feels heavy (if it does, it probably doesn't need water right now) or light (probably needs water)," suggests Salmeri. "Be extra careful with containers that do not drain."

Snake plant in a grower's pot in front of a blue wall
Rolling Greens Sansevieria Zeylanica $28
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03 of 10

Chinese Evergreen

Chinese evergreen next to a modern styled slat bench

JC Designs

  • Botanical Name: Aglaonema
  • Sun Exposure: Low to bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting soil
  • Soil pH: 5.6 to 6.5

Add a splash of color to your space with a vibrant aglaonema, also known as Chinese evergreen. These hardy plants stay pretty compact, topping out at around two feet tall, but pack a punch with their vibrant leaves in bright patterns.

Try to keep your aglaonema's soil barely moist—not too wet and not too dry. "Watering your plant just the right amount is like feeding a pet or a new baby—it's so hard to tell exactly how much they need. But like pets and babies, if you're patient and pay attention, they will often let you know when they are getting too much (or not enough)," Salmeri says.

Pink and green Chinese evergreen on a wood stool
Greendigs Red Chinese Evergreen $55
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04 of 10

Pothos

Hanging pothos in a bright room

Sara Toufali

  • Botanical Name: Epipremnum aureum
  • Sun Exposure: Low to bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: All-purpose potting soil
  • Soil pH: 6.1 to 6.5

With its glossy green leaves, creeping vines, and tough-as-nails nature, what's not to love about pothos? This trailing vine will tolerate just about any lighting situation and can go weeks without water if it has to. Pothos looks especially impressive in a hanging planter or on a high shelf.

"Consider the space you are putting it in when you are determining what size plant you want—but be prepared for it to take on a life (and size) of its own after it gets comfortable in its new home," Salmeri points out. "Trailing plants will continue to trail and get longer."

Golden pothos in a hanging planter against a blue wall
Rolling Greens Golden Pothos $15
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05 of 10

Elephant's Ear

Alocasia Polly on a styled credenza against a wall papered wall

Modern House Vibes

  • Botanical Name: Alocasia amazonica
  • Sun Exposure: Medium to bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Moist, well-draining potting soil
  • Soil pH: 5.5 to 6.5

If you've got some indirect light and are looking for an instant jungle vibe, alocasia (lovingly known as elephant's ear) might be perfect for your space. This whimsical plant ranges from the compact, yet striking, dwarf Alocasia amazonica that stays around a foot tall, to the bright and massive Alocasia macrorrhizos that can grow well beyond the height of standard ceilings.

As jungle plants, alocasia require consistently moist soil and love humidity. And one more tip: "You don't need to repot a plant right away. They are usually good in their grow pots for up to a year," says Salmeri.

Alocasia polly in a white ceramic pot
Plants.com Elephant's Ear (Alocasia Polly) $50
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06 of 10

Kentia Palm

Palm and succulent on a modern styled kitchen table

Coco Lapine Design

  • Botanical Name: Howea forsteriana
  • Sun Exposure: Low to medium indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting soil
  • Soil pH: 6.1 to 6.5

For maximum tropical vibes, the kentia palm is another that's compatible with medium, indirect light. While the graceful, fanned palm demands to be the center of attention, it won't require you to constantly babysit. Water when the top inch or two of soil has dried out and mist the leaves every once in a while.

Like with any houseplant, Salmeri suggests keeping an eye on the roots: "When roots start to grow up above the soil surface or through the drainage holes, it is an indicator it is time to transplant (and an excuse to shop for a beautiful new vessel to house your plant)."

Kentia Palm in a white planter against a blue wall
Rolling Greens Kentia Palm, Plant Only $205
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07 of 10

Money Tree

Money tree on a styled shelf

Sara Toufali

  • Botanical Name: Pachira aquatica
  • Sun Exposure: Medium to bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Moist to wet potting mix
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 7.5

Add a little green to your home and your pocket with a money tree, thought to bring financial fortune in the practice of feng shui. These guys tolerate drought well and are adaptable to most conditions as long as they get a few hours of indirect light each day.

"While giving your plant the lighting it needs to grow properly is crucial, there are a few additional factors to consider when placing your plant," says Salmeri. "Think about the air flow (coming from air vents and windows), humidity (often in the bathroom and kitchen), and the morning or afternoon light (cool versus hot)."

Money tree in a decorative pot against a blue wall
Rolling Greens Money Tree $44
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08 of 10

Fiddle-Leaf Fig

fiddle leaf fig and monstera in a bright, airy living space
Monica Wang Photography
  • Botanical Name: Ficus lyrata
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light, and some direct sun
  • Soil Type: Well-draining indoor potting mix
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 7.0

Looking for a statement tree to put in front of a bright and sunny window? The fiddle-leaf fig is one of the trendiest options out there, and for good reason. The signature, violin-shaped leaves make a striking statement in any space.

As far as care goes, they can be a bit fickle. "Like people, plants take a little while to adapt to their environment," says Salmeri. "For example, ficus plants drop their leaves when they are moved, so be patient and ready to provide extra TLC for the first few months while your plant gets acclimated to its new home."

Fiddle leaf fig in a grower's pot against a blue wall
Rolling Greens Ficus Lyrata $48
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09 of 10

Weeping Fig

Weeping fig in a modern entryway next to an upholstered bench

Coco Lapine Design

  • Botanical Name: Ficus benjamina
  • Sun Exposure: Low to bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Rich, fast-draining potting mix
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 6.5

Another member of the ficus family, you'll find this cousin to the fiddle-leaf a little more easy-going. It, too, prefers plenty of bright light, but can tolerate lower light if it has to. It's sensitive to changes in environment, though, so try not to move it around too much.

Ficus plants can be particular about watering. "The biggest faux pas we see customers make is the general tendency to overwater," says Salmeri. "Water meters don't always work accurately and should not be the only technique used to determine if the plant needs water."

Braided weeping fig in a green pot on a wood dresser
PlantVine Ficus Benjamina, Large $98
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10 of 10

Rubber Tree

Rubber tree next to a tall mirror in a boho bedroom

Sara Toufali

  • Botanical Name: Ficus elastica
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-drained potting mix
  • Soil pH: 5.5 to 7.0

Rubber trees are a popular choice due to their large, eye-catching leaves and easy to care for nature. They can be purchased from a small table-top size to towering trees.

"Determining the right size plant for your home is a very personal decision—and it's often hard to predict exactly how large certain plants will get," says Salmeri. "You should look at the mature height and width of the plant and consider that a plant will only grow as big as the container it is in."

Your rubber tree will thrive best with bright, indirect light and evenly moist (but not soggy) soil at all times. Like with other ficus varieties, avoid sudden environmental changes, as this could lead to leaf drop.

Rubber Tree in a grower's pot in front of a blue wall
Rolling Greens Ficus Elastica Burgundy $25
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